20 Oct 15

Most dangerous activity associated with pistol training:

There are dangers inherent with having guns around. There are also dangers inherent with not having guns around. None of us get a risk-free life, and, in the end, the bacteria win.

Not in dispute!

However, in studying gun-training/range accidents, there is little doubt that the most dangerous thing we do with pistols is reholster them!

You can find examples of NDs associated with nearly any gun activity, from cleaning, to removing one from its case, but replacing a pistol into a holster, that is being worn at the time, is the one activity that tops the list!

When the strong-side index finger (trigger finger) is inside, or even near, the trigger guard, the holster itself can push the finger into the trigger (as the pistol is reholstered) with enough force to cause the pistol to discharge.

The result, depending upon where the holster is positioned, ranges from a hole, usually several, in the shooter’s pants, or jacket (shoulder holster), to a hole in his foot, buttocks, or the foot of someone standing near him. In the case of appendix-carry, the hole is often through the shooter’s upper leg, sometimes producing life-threatening injury to a femoral artery.

We’ve documented multiple examples of all of the above! In fact, I know few experienced instructors (including me) who have not had it happen on their watch, no matter how slow we try to go, nor how careful we try to be.

As I’ve suggested before, deadly weapons which are loaded and thus in a high state of readiness, cannot on be handled “safely.” We can handle them carefully, adhering to a sound set of handling principles, but an ND is never more than an instant away!

I’m not suggesting that NDs are “inevitable,” but they’re far from “unheard-of,” even among experienced Operators who carry every day. I am trying to encourage all of us to resist the temptation to become complacent when we handle guns, not just during training on the range, but every time we necessarily touch them during the course of our day.

Trigger finger needs to know its position. All other fingers are never allowed above the trigger guard! Errors in this regard need to be pointed-out and immediately corrected during training.

Mistakes don’t need to be practiced. Mistakes need to be corrected!

During this election season, all gun accidents will garner a high profile, like it or not!

Shooting someone on purpose, when you have no choice, is a life-changing event, filled to the brim with unpleasantries of all description. Not something I’d wish on anyone!

Even so, imagine the way it will affect you when you shoot someone you never intended to shoot, like yourself!

Modern pistols, of reputable manufacture, are as safe as it is humanly possible to make guns, and still have them genuinely useable for serious purposes. But, designing and manufacturing “safe” guns is akin to making “safe” chain-saws, or “safe” hand grenades.

We can never forget what they’re for!

“Positive outcomes don’t necessarily demonstrate superior play. Superior play will lead to positive outcomes more often than will poor play, but even poor players sometimes catch lucky. It is when you confuse catching lucky with playing well, that demons sneak in!”

John Vorhaus